Tooth-coloured fillings (White fillings) come mainly in 2 types:
1) Composite Resin
2) Glass Ionomers
Composite Resins are made up of powdered glass dispersed in plastic resin. They are highly aesthetic fillings which are able to match the different shades and translucency of teeth, and also able to mimic the natural form and shape of a tooth. Since they also bond well to the tooth, composite resins restore most of the original strength of the tooth, providing good durability and resistance to fracture without the need to enlarge the size of the cavity excessively.
Indications for Composite Resins Include:
1) Small-to-mid size restorations
2) Close gaps between teeth
3) Replace existing amalgam (Silver) fillings
4) Repair chipped teeth
5) Veneers for discoloured teeth in suitable cases
Glass Ionomers are made up of silicate glass powder and acrylic. They bond well to dentine (Inner layer of a tooth), release fluoride and are less sensitive to moisture contamination. They are however less durable and less aesthetic than composite resins
Indications for Glass Ionomers include:
1) Exposed root surfaces
2) Non-load bearing areas
3) Base layer underneath composite resins
4) Temporary fillings for large cavities or as interim fillings during longer procedures like root canal treatment
Both are mercury-free. For larger cavities, do approach your dentist for an assessment as more extensive restorative work might be required, e.g. crowns or onlays
How do I take care of my fillings?
Good oral hygiene i.e. regular brushing and flossing. Do also visit your dentist every 6 monthly for assessment of your oral health and integrity of the fillings. X-rays also aid the dentist in ensuring no recurrent decay is occurring around the fillings and have to be taken once every 1-2 years. Avoiding biting on very hard food like crab shells and cutting down on coloured drinks like coffee also prevents damage to the fillings.